A few weeks ago Specific Media bought MySpace from News Corp. for $35 million— roughly 10 percent of what Rupert Murdoch’s media giant had paid for the networking site in 2005. Given that MySpace has become a ghost of its former glory, it seems unlikely that any divine intervention ( even in the form of Justin Timberlake) will keep it from slipping further into obscurity.
While the odds aren’t necessarily in MySpace’s favor, a number of companies have escaped these slumps and gone on to exceed all past feats. Here’s a list of our favorite comeback kids. Who knows? Maybe MySpace (or Sony?) will join their ranks one day.
The pricey yet personal notebooks were a brand long before they were attached to a particular company. Despite their artistic following (Hemingway and Picasso were fans), the oilcloth books were disappearing until entrepreneur Maria Sebregondi founded Moleskine in the mid-90s. Now Moleskine has extended its line of diaries, notepads and sketchbooks to include city guides and topic journals.
The instant-camera king declared bankruptcy twice— once in 2001 and again in 2008. With digital-bridging products like the Instant Mobile Printer and Lady Gaga as a creative director (divine celebrity intervention!), Polaroid is finding its niche.
While its competitor General Motors was forced to shut down its entire Pontiac division (much to the dismay of my Grand Prix), Ford saw a turnaround in 2009 when it boasted profits without any bailout funds. Rebranding efforts, particularly ones emphasizing energy-efficient models have helped the automaker reshape its reputation. In April, Ford boasted its largest first-quarter profits in more than a decade.
As hard as it might be to remember a time before iPads, iPhones and iPods, the Silicon Valley super-giant went through a slow period in the late ‘80s and the ‘90s when it was largely relegated to computer labs in public schools. Many credit Apple’s return to power (and prominence) to the return of Steve Jobs.
— Nicole Duncan